Understanding Pain And Suffering In Personal Injury Claims

“Pain and suffering” is a term that so often appears in personal injury claims, but few people realize what it actually means. Legally speaking, this is a complicated term that is very hard to calculate. It includes various aspects and car accident attorneys have to prove what is claimed in order to have this influence compensation amounts.

To put things as simple as possible, there are 2 main types of this:

  • Physical – This is the pain the plaintiff suffers because of the physical injuries. Besides what the claimant already suffered, this can include detrimental effects that will be suffered in the future because of the negligence of the defendant.
  • Mental – These appear because of the physical injury but are basically a by-product. Mental suffering will include things like loss of enjoyment, emotional distress, anxiety, shock, humiliation, anger, fear, and mental anguish. Basically, negative emotions suffered because of the trauma are included in this category.

Physical pain and suffering are usually much easier to highlight and prove. However, mental pain and suffering can include so many different things, like lack of energy, mood swings, sleep disturbances, and anger. In severe cases, we might even talk about PTSD.

Some Examples

It is very easy to understand examples of pain and suffering in simple personal injury claims but when analyzing more severe cases, things can quickly become complicated. For instance, a car accident can lead to several broken bones and a severe concussion. This can lead to anger, depression, sleep problems, and more. Claimants can end up being treated by psychologists. All of these would be included in the claim and deserve compensation.

In many cases, the mental pain and suffering one suffers can be very bad and prevent victims from getting back to work. This is possible even after physical injuries healed. When this happens, the depression can linger for months and deserves higher financial compensation.

Mental suffering can become even more serious. For instance, let’s say the physical injury is back strain. Due to it, the victim cannot exercise. This prevents participating in a sports event that was planned for months. The result of this scenario can be unhappiness, repression, frustration, and anger. While mental health assistance is not usually needed in such a scenario, what happened is still mental pain and suffering.

Calculating Pain And Suffering

We do not have strict guidelines used to determine compensation for pain and suffering. Usually, judges simply instruct the jury to use good sense, personal experience, and background.

The multiplier we often hear mentioned is a number that is used to multiply the total lost earnings and medical bills. This can offer some rough guidance that can be used by the jury to calculate a fair compensation. The multiplier is usually between 1.5 and four. Usually, this is a concept that applies to minor injuries. In severe cases, the jury can choose to offer compensation that is much higher than what the multiplier would dictate.

At the end of the day, the way in which you argue your case is what will dictate the result of the case and how much financial compensation you receive in a personal injury case. This is why you always need to have a personal injury attorney in your corner.

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